Party registration | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 23, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 23, 2008

Editorial

Party registration

Reform is more than changing a few words in a document

WE are heartened that the major parties have applied for registration with the EC and that they are engaging with the process of complying with the new RPO by amending their respective constitutions. These steps by the parties have greatly reduced the uncertainty that had been hanging over the upcoming elections, and are therefore very welcome.
However, we would have been happier had the impetus for reforms come from within the parties themselves, rather than from outside. Indeed, the BNP general secretary has even complained publicly that the reforms have been forced upon them. If these reforms have been undertaken by the parties under pressure, our question is why have the parties made no move to reform themselves which would have obviated the need for it. The very fact that pressure needed to be applied is a reflection on the sorry state of our politics.
We are at a loss to understand why the parties would resist greater intra-party democracy, honest and upright candidates, and other such reform measures. The parties may argue that they are happy to reform of their own accord, and object only to the coercion. However, this argument cuts little ice in light of the fact that they had never moved to reform themselves earlier, and even now some core negative elements, remain.
Why should it take outside pressure for the BNP to limit the authority of the all-powerful party head, or for the Jamaat to recognise the liberation war of this country.
Indeed, the fact that the reforms are being enacted by the political parties only now and with great reluctance begs the question as to how sincere the parties are and whether we can at all take their reformist steps at face value.
Whatever the circumstances of the current reforms process there can be no doubt that it is in the public interest and that the public wanted it, and that there was a historical need for such reforms. We ask the parties to reflect on this and truly embrace the reform agenda, not because it is imposed, but because it is the right thing to do.
We fervently hope that there will never again be any need for any interim government to demand needed reforms of the political parties, and that henceforth the parties will be more faithful to the wishes of the people and follow a continuous reform process.

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